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The lantern shield is small shield combined with a lantern, in use during the Italian Renaissance (15th and 16th century Italy) especially for nighttime duels. A number of specimens survive. Their defining feature is a small circular shield -- a buckler -- combined with a lantern, or a hook from which to hang a lantern, intended to blind the opponent at night or in duels fought at dawn.
Some more elaborate examples might incorporate gauntlets, spikes, sword blades, and also a mechanism to alternatively darken or release the light of the lantern, etc.
The most peculiar example is the one now kept at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, made in ca. the 1540s.
Swordsmen duelling at dawn are reported to have carried lanterns during the 16th and 17th centuries, and fencing manuals of the period integrated the lantern into their lessons, using it to parry blows and blind the opponent. The manuals sometimes show the combatants carrying the lantern in the left hand wrapped behind the back.
- http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/Angelo.php accessed 7/25/2009
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2009-07-25. accessed 7/25/2009